Have fun with your glasses
Early on in my career I worked with a fabulously flamboyant Art Editor. Each day she would come into work in yet another outrageously colourful outfit, complete with complementary glasses. Even on the days when what she wore was more restrained - well, by her standards - her you-can’t-miss-’em glasses made sure she stood out from the crowd (it helped that she was also six feet tall). We tried to work out how many pairs she must have, but gave up counting. It was only many months into our working relationship that she revealed that she didn’t actually need glasses at all, and that all her pairs had ordinary glass in them. To her, they were a vital accessory which finished off every outfit with the sort of flourish that was her trademark.
Although I was determined to follow her example, when the time inevitably came for me to need specs, I’m afraid I was disappointingly restrained. I blame my conviction that wearing glasses made me appear more grown up, and as the purchase of my first pair coincided with my appointment as Editor of Woman’s Weekly, the notion that ‘serious’ glasses might make me look like I actually knew what I was doing, rather than frantically making it up as I went along, was too appealing to mess around with. I settled into a pattern of choosing sensible but still (what I hoped were) stylish frames.
It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve relinquished playing it safe with my specs and released my inner flamboyance. I still have a way to go before I have anything like the selection of designs or colours that my style inspiration did, but hey, you’ve gotta to start somewhere.
My first not-black-or-brown purchase were these bright blue frames. You’ve seen me in them in lots of pics.
Whilst I realise it was hardly wildly adventurous, my next choice were the same shape but with a fetching dusty pink frame. I know, not exactly flamboyant, but little steps….
Since then there has been a bit of a hiatus caused mainly by something that my Art Ed heroine didn’t have to deal with - the cost of prescription glass. Because I use a (wonderful) local optician, who is also an old friend, each pair is frankly so eye-wateringly expensive (pun entirely intended) that I and my bank balance have to fully recover before considering another purchase.
I do, of course, know that there are plenty of other ways to buy great glasses without the eye-popping price tag. My lovely sister in law is a fan of Glasses Direct. You can enter your prescription and choose up to four pairs at a time which are sent free of charge. They have a clever virtual try-on tool on the site and a big selection of frame shapes and colours. Impressively, when my sister-in-law made a mistake entering her prescription, a real optician called her to say it didn’t sound right and to check the details.
Of course, at the other end of the scale are the glasses you can buy over the counter anywhere from M&S to Poundland. You choose the magnification you want, the shape you like and hand over anything from £1 upwards. However, like everything in life, you do get what you pay for, so if you’re going to need to wear your glasses for long stretches, my recommendation would be to get proper prescription ones.
What ready readers are ideal for is as a back-up or emergency pair, and bearing in mind my infallible ability to loose or break, well pretty much anything, I really didn’t fancy my glasses following the way of the rest of my misplaced or mangled possessions. However, matching my back-up pair to my new make-a-statement policy proved harder than I thought. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with any of the styles on offer, they were just a bit….boring.
So imagine my delight when I discovered the Izipizi range. Launched in 2010, this French brand firmly puts the fun into glasses. Their collections are funky, bold, sturdy and wildly colourful. True my first purchase wasn’t the most colourful, but I love them, and at a very affordable £30 there will certainly be more to follow. I have my eye on a bright pink pair next!
Even more brilliantly, they do magnified sunglasses, including ones you can swim in (genius), snow goggles and glasses for kids, all in their signature bright bold colours and designs. I was at least a bit more adventurous with my choice of coloured tortoise-shell frames for the sunglasses I selected from their range.
And whilst we’re on the subject of sunglasses, with no need to have prescription or magnifying lenses for most of my sun protection eye-wear (I only need glasses for reading), I realise I have rather gone to town with my collection, which I admit would be even bigger if it wasn’t for my aforementioned predilection for losing anything not permanently attached to me. Does it count that I’ve built it up over a few years? No? Oh well.
By necessity the glasses I’ve featured here are all for women, but I’d encourage all you men to be as bold in your choice of frames too. Wearing a pair of in-your-face (OK, I’ll stop with the puns now) glasses really does change your outlook on the world. Even though you obviously can’t see them yourself, everyone else can, and more often than not it’ll make them smile when they see you in your fabulous frames. And what could be better than that?
I’ll leave the last word to someone who’s fast becoming my style guru courtesy of the fabulously colourful outfits and accessories - including, obviously, her emphatically bright glasses - that she wears on The Great British Bake Off. I’m talking, of course, about the irrepressible Prue Leith.
There’s a whole post coming up about dressing in colour, inspired by her, but here’s what she has to say in this month’s issue of Good Housekeeping: “You simply feel better dressed in colour. I’m keen on coloured-frame glasses. Putting on a jolly frame that suits you is much better than something rimless that looks like a medical appliance!”
Hear, hear Prue!
Where do you get your glasses and do you wear brightly coloured ones? If not, has this inspired you to give them a go? I do hope so!
Other posts you’ll enjoy